Welcome to the 1,051st Edition of Loading...
Loading... is the premier and only MMORPG news and commentary daily newsletter from Ten Ton Hammer.
In today's Loading... we go after inflation in today's maturing MMOs. How can devs limit or at least contain the effects of a player-influenced economy? We have a solution or two and we welcome your comments too. A new and exclusive Ether Saga Online dev diary, 4 new WoW and WAR guides, and an opinion piece on what exactly makes a MMO "free to play" in today's Loading... Inflated Expectations.
Play World of Warcraft? Jay "Medeor" Johnson's weekly WoW newsletter "The Overpull" keeps you entertained and informed on all the latest developments in WoW. Sign up!
You vote with what you view at Ten Ton Hammer, and the result is the Ten Ton Pulse (What is Pulse?).
Here's today's top 5 Pulse results for today:
Biggest Movers in the Top 20 today :
- Lineage 2 (UP 2 to #17)
- CrimeCraft (down 2 to #19)
- Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach (UP 1 to #7)
Loading... inflating expectations since 2005.
Given the empty ciné noir landscape that is the newbie game in most well-aged MMOs, I should be grateful that the few hours spent leveling yet another WoW character this weekend yielded at least one friendly encounter. That group, a mute pairing that lasted exactly the thirty seconds that it took to take down Taskmaster Dizzywig, was a group born of convenience rather than the difficulty of the encounter - another one of WoW secrets that takes a heady, milling population to pull off.
In most lowbie areas with a population to boast (and I spend a lot of time in a lot of newbie areas these days), the characters bumble around like bad guests at the world's worst cocktail party. In WoW, it's become a race. Barrens chat and Norris one-liners have turned into recruitment chatter and linked "bargain" epics from the auction house. It's a little sad to see WoW grow up, but I'll manage.
I was determined to level this character without an ounce of twinkage. I wanted to play classic WoW as nature intended, pulling myself up by the bootstraps to determine how well WoW has held up. After all, WoW has changed it's new player experience barely if at all in the past four and a half years, in stark contrast to every other top-tier MMO that's at least half its age. Things were going well; I'd scrimped and saved, sold everything I could through the AH and taken more than a few inconvenient trips back to town when my meager assortment of bags were full. A lowbie bag quest for races other than draenei and blood elf remains high on my wishlist, fortunately we have a guide for every purpose.
I'd managed to save up a few silver and was feeling pretty good until the class quest at level 14, which required an herb that couldn't be bought from an NPC, it had to be gathered or bought at the auction house. Now I realized my mistake; I'd picked a Tauren Druid, and after a few years of Taurens in leather jokes, I'd picked skinning and leatherworking for my professions, even managing to skill up and farm the mats for a few kodo bags. I'd saved a little silver too; more than enough for the stack of Earthroot I needed. Or so I thought, or so it had been the last time someone from Blizz had looked at the quest. Inflation had taken hold, and bidding for a 5-spot of Earthroot started at about five times my life savings. I can't fault the herbalists - I'd want some recompense for trekking around picking flowers at random spawns too. And if I were smart and had taken my own advice, I would have picked two gathering professions and saved the crafting profession for when my character had money to blow. Still, herbalism isn't the best gathering profession for a druid (who has a bevy of healing spells anyway).
So I'm sure I wasn't the only druid that depended on the AH for my Earthroot fix, and inflation is the byproduct of growth - a player population that's farming more gold than it's sinking back into the game. Frankly I'm surprised it's not worse in WoW. All the same, inflation punishes those starting from scratch or returning to an online game disproportionately. And there's no need for it, with a little planning. At the risk of sounding like a complete wuss, complaining about WoW mid-teens, I'd just ask that devs keep raw crafting items and quest items separate.
Fortunately a guildmate gave me a handfull of gold (I still insist on calling it a loan), and it's amazing how much difference a few gold makes. Too bad exploiters, if not inflation, would punish an early moneybags quest that offers gold for a mundane task. Have another solution for inflation? If so, you can either apply to the treasury department or post your solution in the Loading... forum. Or skip the middleman and send me an email!
Shayalyn's Epic Thread of the Day
From our Ten Ton Torched Forum
It's Monday, so it's time for something off-topic to kick off our week.
Today I bid you to bring your torches and picthforks and step into our Ten Ton Torched forum to vote in AngryBeaver's Scariest Monster poll.
I could tell you who's coming out the clear winner so far, but that
would spoil all the fun. I'll give you a hint, it's not vampires,
zombies, or even the holy ghost (okay okay, that last one wasn't a
poll option, but it should've been). Hell, it's not even politicians.
Epic Quotes from the Epic Thread
"A werewolf are you serious? Dude,
werewolves are just dog people. I've got a dog, I know how to deal with
them: throw a ball; roll down the window in the car and they can't
resist sticking their head out; give them some Milk Bones; toll 'em
over and scratch their belly. Those all work."
Have you spotted an Epic Thread on our forums? Tell us!
7 new MMOG hand-crafted articles today! 25 in April! 412 in 2009!
New MMOG Articles At Ten Ton Hammer Today [Thanks Phil Comeau for links and Real World News]
Ether Saga Dev Diary #3 - Events and Instances
In the first two dev diaries, we learned about Ether Saga Online's transformation system and 12,000 quests, and our latest dev diary explores ESO's unique handling of events and instances. See how daily, weekly, and monthly events plus PvE and PvP instances will shape your ESO experience in Ether Saga Online Dev Diary #3!
What *is* a Free MMOG?
Danny "Ralsu" Gourley has been taking a lot of heat over his choices for the best free-to-play games. He thought it'd be easy to explain his selection criteria until he sat down to do it. Then he realized that it's a very subjective process. Rather than getting more prescriptive in his process, he ended up less so. What's the deal?
World of Warcraft: Useful Sites for Aspiring Players
This week Byron "Messiah" Mudry takes a look at some of the great websites out there that help World of Warcraft raiders and aspiring raiders improve their game. While these sites and resources are not for everyone, they are almost mandatory reading for anyone who really wants to take their game to the top level.
World of Warcraft: Getting Ready to Raid, Druid-style
Raiding, like many other things in life, is a venture whose results are
directly linked to the amount of preparation you put in. There are many
facets that contribute to this success.
World of Warcraft: Getting Ready to Raid with the Paladin
What is a player to do when they hit level 80 and want to know if their Paladin is truly ready to toe the starting line of raiding? Read our guide on getting ready to raid, that's what!
EverQuest 2: Ten Things you Need to Know about Shard Armor
EverQuest II released The Shadow Odyssey expansion in November and players have pushed forward through the Moors of Ykesha to claim it's rewards. Shard Armor is the end game and without a basic understanding of how it works, you could be left scratching your head or wasting time. Maybe you've been out of the game for awhile and want to see what everyone is doing now. Ten Ton Hammer has put together ten elements of how Shard Armor works and what's necessary to earn it.
geeked: Dirty Deeds
Ten Ton Hammer's very own satirical webcomic on all things geek-related is back with a preview of what's in store with Vogster's criminally driven MMOG, Crimecraft. These guys will be doing several hours of community service at least, with the potential for a few years in minimum security.
Be sure to catch up on any issues of Geeked you've missed by visiting our Comics Portal. Don't forget to rate your favorites while you're at it!
Hot Content - Or, what I took a fancy to:
- CrimeCraft: Exclusive Interview with Vogster's Matt McEnerney
- World of Warcraft Comic: Goob & Begud - Happy Ending
- Exclusive Interview with Nexon's Min Kim
- Can Aion Take North America by Storm?
- Loading... Live #10 Podcast: Post-Book 7 Dev Chat with LotRO's Jeffrey Steefel
- The Symbiosis of Ship, Captain and Crew in Star Trek Online
- geeked: Patience is a Virtue
- Exclusive Star Trek Online Interview with Craig Zinkievich
- Exclusive Interview with Champions Online's Bill Roper
- Paul Barnett's GDC Blog #3 - Elvis is in the GDC
Real World News
Budapest, Hungary referred to as the 'Paris of Europe'
Uh... isn't Paris the Paris of Europe?
Indonesia turns to sex workers to boost election
Reports say local candidates are enjoying a healthy rise in popularity, stamina.
Urinating dog triggered death of three officers
Officers died in an unfortunate slip-and-fall in the resulting poodle.
Thanks for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer network!
-Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle and the Ten Ton Hammer team
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our World of Warcraft Game Page.